The Western Australian Premier's Science Awards' 2023 Scientist of the Year was last night awarded to The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture Director, Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique AM.
Now in its 22nd year, the annual Premier's Science Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding scientific research and engagement taking place in WA.
Professor Siddique is an internationally renowned agricultural scientist who has dedicated more than four decades to research, training, technology exchange and industry development.
He has worked closely with the agriculture and food industries to significantly improve cereal and grain legume production in dryland environments, resulting in new crop varieties and agronomic packages for grain growers.
Image: Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique pictured among chickpea plants in a UWA glasshouse.
He is an outstanding ambassador for WA and UWA, promoting sustainable agriculture and addressing global food security through his prolific research output, leadership, and collaboration.
Minister for Science the Hon Stephen Dawson MLC announced the 2023 Scientist of the Year at a ceremony held at the Ritz Carlton’s Elizabeth Quay Ballroom on Monday evening.
Having been named a finalist for the top award two years in a row, Professor Siddique said the title was a humbling and life-defining honour that he dedicated to his family in Perth and India.
“It is momentous times such as these that inspire us to reflect on our life’s journey,” he said.
“My story in Western Australia began in 1981 when my wife Almaz and I moved here from our home in Kerala to embark on my PhD at UWA.
“My PhD was the first in this country on chickpea – and now, Australia has a major pulse exporting industry. How we have grown.”
Professor Siddique said he was especially thankful to his expansive network of colleagues, PhD and Master’s students, and research collaborators at UWA and universities and research institutions across WA, Australia, and the world especially in China and India.
“I am fortunate to work in an environment surrounded by very clever, passionate people at UWA,” he said.
“I am indebted to the agriculture and food industry and research community for their support and research funding over the decades."
“It is also crucial that I acknowledge my close working relationship with innovative WA farmers, who I have learned so much from and without whom I would certainly not be standing here tonight.”Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique
UWA’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the University was very proud of its award-winning scientists.
“Our researchers care passionately, think deeply and work with immense energy and dedication to ensure that we are making a difference,” Professor Chakma said.
“Their research is helping solve many global challenges faced by humanity.”
Professor Siddique said the award was especially important to him because it helped shine a light on the importance of food and agriculture for the future of humanity.
“Seven hundred and sixty million people in the world go hungry every day, and that number is rising,” he said.
“The average Australian farmer produces enough food to feed 150 people at home, and 450 people overseas … not a bad effort.
“Key to overcoming hunger and malnutrition is greater funding and support for innovative, impactful agricultural research and development that is conducted in national and international collaboration with industry and farmers.”
Media referencesRosanna Candler (Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 08 6488 1650
Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique (Director, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 08 6488 7012